Saturday, 9 March 2013

The Admins

PISMP 3.09

Assalamualaikum W.B.T....... Peace be upon Rasullullah S.A.W.....

Alhamdulillah.... All praise to Allah S.W.T.

It was for His mercy that we managed to design and develop this blog, which would be our first blog as a group. This is actually our project for the Classroom Management subject, which we are taking this semester. 

Developing a blog is never easy. But thanks to Allah, for He has given us the strength and courage to just go with what we believe would be useful for us and also for the use and benefit of others. This blog is not just developed for the purpose of adhering to the requirements of the project, but hopefully, also for the use of other educators in the future, and of course, in the mean time.

As portrayed and introduced by the picture, we are Teslians from PISMP 3.09, united by fate and has been close friends ever since. We have been working together for quite some time now and have been quite successful as a group. 

Well, that should be enough about us, for now. There's nothing much to say actually. All the best to other groups and may Allah S.W.T. bless all of us with barakah in anything we are doing. Not to forget, our beloved lecturer, Madam Norani Mansor, may Allah S.W.T. bless her and her family with happiness in this world and the world hereafter. She has been very helpful and dedicated in guiding us through this whole project. 

We believe that everyone can achieve a successful life. Open your heart, free yourself from  the 'negative you',  and grab the chance given to you. You have to make the first step. Those who never succeed are those who are afraid of changes!

"For each (such person) there are (angels) in succession, before and behind him: They guard him by command of Allah. Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls). But when (once) Allah willeth a people's punishment, there can be no turning it back, nor will they find, besides Him, any to protect."

(Sura ar-Ra'd:11)

The Best Teacher

Written by:
Amatul Wadood.
Posted on:
March, 18, 2008.
Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) says in the Qur’an,

Translation: It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom although they were before in clear error. [Suratul Jumu'ah, verse 2]
Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) sent Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) to do four things:
  1. Recite the verses
  2. Teach the Qur’an
  3. Teach the Wisdom (sunnah)
  4. Purify his followers.
The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) nurtured the sahaba and taught them in such a way that the whole of Arabia drastically changed in a matter of 23 years. He had six amazing qualities of teaching that inshaAllah we can implement and follow as teachers, parents, siblings, and any other roles we have in our communities.
Mu’awiyah ibn Al-Hakam said, “I have never seen a teacher before him (Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) or after him better in teaching than he.”

The attributes of a good teacher:

  • Desire and keen for goodness for students: In surah At-Tawbah, Allah says, in the translation of ayah 128, “There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful.” Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) also advised Abu Dhar (رضي الله عنه‏), “I see that you are weak, and I love for you like I love for myself, so if someone gives you a position of leadership, don’t take it."

  • Kindness. Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Allah is Kind (Rafeeq) and He loves kindness, and confers upon kindness which He does not confer upon severity, and does not confer upon any thing besides it (kindness).” [Muslim] We see his kindness throughout his life (صلى الله عليه و سلم), when he would pass by children in the street he would play with them–unlike nowadays, where people think it is righteousness to never smile. Anas ibn Malik (رضي الله عنه‏) narrated that whenever the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) would pass by children he would smile fondly and greet them. [Bukhari and Muslim].
  • Anas also narrated, “I served him for ten years, and he never said “uff” (an expression of disgust) to me. He never said, ‘why did you do that?’ for something I had done, nor did he ever say ‘why did you not do such and such’ for something I had not done.” [Bukhari and Muslim].

  • Hikmah (wisdom)Hikmah is defined as saying the right thing at the right time to the right people in the right manner. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or is oppressed.” A man inquired: “O Messenger of Allah! I help him when he is oppressed, but how can I help him when he is an oppressor?” He (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “You can keep him from committing oppression. That will be your help to him.” [Bukhari]. Another example is the story of the bedoin who urinated in the masjid. SubhanAllah, while all of the sahaba ran to admonition him and beat him, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) simply said, “Leave him alone and pour a bucket of water over it. You have been sent to make things easy and not to make them difficult.” [Bukhari].

  • Humilty and humbleness. Abu Rifa’a (رضي الله عنه‏) narrated that, “I came towards the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) while he was giving the khutba. I said ‘O Messenger of Allah, an estranged man has come asking about his religion, he does not know what his religion is.’ The Messenger of Allah came towards me and left his khutba until he reached me, and was brought a chair, I thought the legs were made of iron. The Prophet sat on it and started teaching me from what Allah had taught him. Then he returned to his khutba and completed it.” [Bukhari]

  • Saying “I don’t know” if you don’t know the answer. Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) would only answer a question if Qur’an had been revealed answering it, or he would wait for revelation. Once, Jaabir ibn Abdillah (رضي الله عنه‏) came and asked the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سل) about inheritance, and Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) stayed quiet until Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) revealed the ayah in Surah an-Nisaa.

  • Speaking slowly. ‘Aishah (رضي الله عنها‏) reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not summarize his speech, and he spoke in such a way that if one were to count his words, they could be counted. [Bukhari] Anas ibn Malik also reported that Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) would repeat his words three times.

These are only a few of the qualities of Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) as a teacher, indeed in him we have an excellent pattern–as Allah himself says:

Translation: There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often. [Surah Ahzab, verse 21].

AbdulBary Yahya. Lecture. Al Maghrib Institute,
Chain Of Command: Hadeeth Sciences,
University of Maryland, Rockville. July 2007.

Read more:

Characteristics Of An Effective Teacher

Are you an effective teacher? See for yourself!

1. An effective teacher loves to teach!

The single most important quality that every teacher should possess is a love and passion for teaching young people. Unfortunately there are teachers who do not love what they do. This single factor can destroy a teacher’s effectiveness quicker than anything else. Teachers who do not enjoy their job cannot possibly be effective day in and day out. There are too many discouraging factors associated with teaching that is difficult enough on a teacher who absolutely loves what they do, much less on one who doesn't have the drive, passion, or enthusiasm for it. On top of that, kids are smarter than what we give them credit for. They will spot a phony quicker than anyone and thus destroy any credibility that teacher may have.

2. An effective teacher demonstrates a caring attitude!

Even teachers who love their job can struggle in this area, not because they don’t care, but because they get caught up so much in the day to day routine of teaching that they can forget that their students have lives outside of school. Taking the time to get to know a student on a personal level takes a lot of time and dedication. There is also a line that no teacher wants to cross where their relationship becomes too personal. Elite teachers know how to balance this without crossing that line and once a student believes the teacher truly cares for them, then there is no limit to what that student can achieve.

3. An effective teacher can relate to his/her students!

The best teachers go out of their way to find ways to relate to each of their students. Common interest can be hard to find, but good teachers will find a way to connect with their students even if they have to fake it. For instance, you may have a student who is a Lego fanatic. You can relate to that student if you do something as simple as ordering a Lego catalog and then going through it and discussing it with that student. Even if you have no actual interest in Lego’s, the student will think you do and thus naturally create a connection.

4. An effective teacher is willing to think outside the box!

There is no one set cookie cutter way to teach. If there was, teachers and students would both be bored. What makes teaching so exciting is that kids learn differently and we have to find and utilize different strategies and differentiated learning to reach every student. What works for one student, will not work for every student. Teachers have to be willing to be creative and adaptive in their lessons, thinking outside the box on a continual basis. If you try to teach every concept in the same manner, there will be students who miss out on key factors because they aren't wired to learn that way.

5. An effective teacher is a good communicator!

To be the best possible teacher you must be an effective communicator. However, in this area you are not just limited to being a good communicator to your students although that is a must. You must also be a great communicator with parents of your students as well as your faculty/staff team within or in your building. If you have a difficulty communicating with any of these three groups, then you limit your overall effectiveness as a teacher.

6. An effective teacher is proactive rather than reactive!

This can be one of most difficult aspects for a teacher to conquer. Intense planning and organization can ultimately make your job all the more less difficult. Teachers who plan ahead, looking for aspects that they might have issues with, and proactively looking for solutions to solve those problems will have less stress on them, then those teachers who wait until a problem arises and then tries to address it. Being proactive does not replace being adaptive. No matter how well you plan, there will be surprises. However, being proactive can cut down on these surprises tremendously, thus making you more effective overall.

7. An effective teacher works to be better!

A teacher who has grown complacent in what they do is the most ineffective kind of teacher. Any teacher who is not looking for new and better teaching strategies isn’t being an effective teacher. No matter how long you have taught, you should always want to grow as a teacher. Every year there is new research, new technology, and new educational tools that could make you a better teacher. Seek out professional development opportunities and try to apply something new to your class every year.

8. An effective teacher uses a variety of media in his/her lessons!

Like it or not we are in the 21st century and this generation of students was born in the digital age. These students have been bombarded by technological advances unlike any other generation. They have embraced it and if we as teachers do not, then we are falling behind. This is not to say that we should eliminate textbooks and worksheets completely, but effective teachers are not afraid to implement other forms of media within their lessons.

9. An effective teacher challenges his/her students!

The most effective teachers are often the ones that many students consider to be their most difficult. This is because they challenge their students and push them harder than the average teacher does. These are the teachers who are often students’ least favorite teachers at the time, but then later on in life they are the ones that we all remember and want to thank, because of how well they prepared us for life after our time with them. Being an effective teacher does not mean you are easy. It means that you challenge every one of your students and maximize your time with them so that they learn more than they ever thought possible.

10. An effective teacher understands the content that they teach and knows how to explain that content in a manner that their students understand!

There are teachers who do not know the content well enough to effectively teach it. There are teachers who are truly experts on the content, but struggle to effectively explain it to their students. The highly effective teacher both understands the content and explains it on level. This can be a difficult skill to accomplish, but the teachers who can, maximize their effectiveness as a teacher.

Read more: 

Teddy Stoddard (A Teacher's Story)

Teddy Stoddard

There is a story from many years ago of a primary school teacher. Her name was Mrs. Thompson. And as she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same.
But that was impossible because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.
Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And, Teddy could be unpleasant.
It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers. At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last.
However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise, Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners...he is a joy to be around."
His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."
His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."
Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class."
By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful paper and tied with pretty ribbons, except for Teddy's. His present which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag.
Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my mom used to."
After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead she began to teach children.
Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets."
A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer - the letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.
The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course Mrs. Thompson did.
And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference."
Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you."

Teacher's Quotes

Teacher's Quotes

“There are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can't move, and the kind that just gives you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies.”  (Robert Frost)

“Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.” (Aristotle)

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”  (William Arthur Ward)

“When you study great teachers... you will learn much more from their caring and hard work than from their style.” (William Glasser)

“The real heroes are the librarians and teachers who at no small risk to themselves refuse to lie down and play dead for censors.” (Bruce Coville)

“The great teachers fill you up with hope and shower you with a thousand reasons to embrace all aspects of life. I wanted to follow Mr. Monte around for the rest of my life, learning everything he wished to share of impart, but I didn't know how to ask.” (Pat Conroy)

“You can't stop a teacher when they want to do something. They just do it.” (J.D. Salinger)

“The effects you will have on your students are infinite and currently unknown; you will possibly shape the way they proceed in their careers, the way they will vote, the way they will behave as partners and spouses, the way they will raise their kids.” (Donna Quesada)

“Do not believe anything merely because you are told it is so, because others believe it, because it comes from Tradition, or because you have imagined it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect. Believe, take for your doctrine, and hold true to that, which, after serious investigation, seems to you to further the welfare of all beings." (Jean-Yves Leloup)

“One of the first things we learn from our teachers is discernment: the ability to tell truth from fiction, to know when we have lost our center and how to find it again. Discernment is also one of the last things we learn, when we feel our paths diverge and we must separate from our mentors in order to stay true to ourselves.”  (Anne Hill)

“The educator has the duty of not being neutral.”  (Paulo Freire)

“We need teachers. We need to be teachers. Knowing when for each, is wisdom." (Rick Beneteau)

“The best teachers become the best teachers by being their own best students.” (Laurie Gray)

Classroom Organization

The goals of classroom organization are:
  • maximizing the amount of learning
  • minimizing the frequency of behaviour problems
  • creating a positive and safe environment
Classroom arrangement suggestions:
  • students should be seated so that their attention is directed towards the teacher
  • students should be able to clearly see chalkboards, screens, presentations and displays
  • students should face the front of the room and away from windows
  • high traffic areas should be free of congestion
  • students should be seated so that teachers can see all students at all times. Adults in the classroom provide monitoring and attention to students. It is important that all students are within the view of teacher at all times
  • students should be seated so that teachers can easily move among students to monitor work and behaviour
  • classroom rules should be clearly posted

  • the teacher should have a place near the front of the room so that learning materials can be organized and available prior to the lesson
  • areas should be established to display students work
  • students should be able to quickly and easily find their work and begin working
  • students should have easy access to frequently used materials
  • separate students materials from teachers materials.

Classroom Arrangement Styles

Students Materials

The following examples provide some ideas for organizing student materials. Student work may be stored and organized in various ways. It is important to teach students early the importance of organization and make them responsible for as much of their organization as possible. Granted, no matter how hard teachers may try, some students are not good organizers. Ideas to help students may include:
  • tubs or containers labeled with student names for them to store their work in when it is in progress
  • trays for turning work in to the teacher are important for students to use when an assignment has been completed
  • supplies such as scissors, glue, crayons, etc. can be kept in labeled bins. Storing materials in these bins keeps them organized for when you need to use them.
Manage Materials Effectively

The handling and distribution of materials in the classroom can take a significant amount of time. The following are suggestions for establishing strategies for making the distribution of materials more efficient:
  • prepare materials ahead of time
  • develop places for convenient storage of frequently used materials
  • establish and practice procedures for handling out and picking up learning materials and student papers. For example, one student from each row might be assigned to pick up materials and distribute them to the other students in the row. This causes less traffic and confusion than all students going at once to pick up material and uses less time than having the teacher distribute all materials. It is important the student be taught to follow this procedure and have ample opportunity to practice carrying it out correctly.

The Concept Of Classroom Management

Managing of classrooms involves two major tasks (Doyle, 1986);

1. to facilitate learning among pupils
2. to establish order within the classroom so that learning can take place

Views On Classroom Management;

1. The classroom management skills are of primary importance in determining success in teaching. The skills are crucial and fundamental. A teacher who is grossly inadequate in classroom management skills is probably not going to accomplish much (Brophy & Evertson, 1976).

2. Classroom management includes all the things teachers must do to foster pupils involvement and co-operation in classroom activities, and to establish a productive working environment (Sanford, Emmer and Clements, 1983).

3. Classroom management can and should do more than elicit predictable obedience; it can and should be one vehicle for the enhancement of student self-understanding, and the internalization of self-control (McCaslin and Good, 1992).

4. Classroom management is one crucial dimension of classroom teaching, and the tasks of facilitating learning and establishing order go hand in hand. It can also be a channel for the transmission of knowledge but is more of a facilitator of learning (Goh Swee Chiew, 2005).

5. A teacher facilitates learning by ensuring that:

  • she has the requisite knowledge knowledge and skills to help her engage pupils in learning
  • the classroom environment is conducive for learning
  • she has acquired a repertoire of strategies (both instructional and managerial) to use when classroom conditions necessitate.
6. Three important realms of classroom management are delineated for teachers to focus on:
  • knowledge and skills
  • managing strategies
  • the psycho-social or classroom climate

Teacher's Movie Time

Here are some suggested movies for future teachers and of course, teachers.... 


Laskar Pelangi (The Rainbow Troops) is a 2008 Indonesian film adapted from the popular same titled novel by Andrea Hirata. The movie follows a group of 10 schoolboys and their two inspirational teachers as they struggle with poverty and develop hopes for the future in Gantong Village on the farming and tin mining island of Belitung off the east coast of Sumatra. The film is the highest grossing in Indonesian box office history and won a number of local and international awards.

The movie, set in the 1970s, opens on the first day of the year at a Muhammadiyah elementary school on Belitung. The school needs 10 students but is one short until near the end of the day, when a straggler fills out the ranks for their teachers, Muslimah and Harfan. Muslimah dubs the children "The Rainbow Troops" (sometimes translated as "The Rainbow Warriors") and the movie traces their development and relationships with the teachers.


Katherine Watson, an Oakland State University Ph.D. student, is hired as an Art History instructor at Wellesley College for the 1953/54 school year. She is not an obvious choice as Wellesley is an exclusive upper crust institution where its faculty, students and alumni generally look down upon "State" universities. Katherine quickly learns that her paper credentials do affect how her students treat her. She also learns that the students are book smart, but do not know how to think for themselves. Their parents and the school administration foster a predetermined path in life for the girls, namely to stick to traditional mores and thoughts, with the primary goal of marrying into a good family. There are pockets of free thinking among faculty and the students, but those thoughts and associated actions are generally quashed by the overall tone of the school. Katherine decides to instill into her students her own beliefs of what is important in learning. Will the students and administration allow Katherine to be contrary to the prescribed thought? 


Ron Clark, still relatively early in his career, leaves his stable life teaching at an elementary school in his suburban North Carolina hometown, the school where he is appreciated by both his fellow teachers and his students for his innovative teaching methods which results in raising test scores. Instead, he decides to look for a teaching job at a tough New York inner city school where he feels he can be more useful. He eventually finds a job at Inner Harlem Elementary School, where the students are segregated according to their potential. See how he challenges the rules with his magics!

Louanne Johnson is an ex-marine, hired as a teacher in a high-school in a poor area of the city. She has recently separated from her husband. Her friend, also teacher in the school, got the temporary job for her. After a terrible reception from the students, she tries unconventional methods of teaching (using karate, Bob Dylan lyrics etc) to gain the trust of the students. 


Based on true story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan, a gripping battle to overcome impossible obstacles and the struggle to communicate. As a young girl, Helen Keller is stricken with scarlet fever. The illness leaves her blind, mute, and deaf. Sealed off from the world, Helen cannot communicate with anyone, nor anyone with her. Often frustrated and desperate, Helen flies into uncontrollable rages and tantrums that terrify her hopeless family. The gifted teacher Annie Sullivan is summoned by the family to help the girl understand the world from which she is isolated, freeing Helen Keller from her internal prison forever.


12-year-old Dre Parker could've been the most popular kid in Detroit, but his mother's latest career move has landed him in China. Dre immediately falls for his classmate Mei Ying - and the feeling is mutual - but cultural differences make such a friendship impossible. Even worse, Dre's feelings make an enemy of the class bully, Cheng. In the land of kung fu, Dre knows only a little karate, and Cheng puts "the karate kid" on the floor with ease. With no friends in a strange land, Dre has nowhere to turn but maintenance man Mr. Han, who is secretly a master of kung fu. As Han teaches Dre that kung fu is not about punches and parries, but maturity and calm, Dre realizes that facing down the bullies will be the fight of his life.


Farhan Qureshi (R. Madhavan), Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi), and Rancchoddas "Rancho" Shyamaldas Chanchad (Aamir Khan) are three engineering students who share a room in a hostel at the Imperial College of Engineering, one of the best colleges in India. Farhan and Raju have to fulfill their parent's wish therefore, they pushed themselves to study hard. Rancho in the other hand is a wealthy genius who studies for the sheer joy of it. Rancho's passion is for knowledge and taking apart and building machines rather than the conventional obsession of the other students with exam ranks. With his different approach, Rancho irritates his lecturers and principle by giving creative and unorthodox answers. His different view of education system will trigger educator's conscious in educating pupils.


A world where it is natural and 'normal' to rap eight-year-old knuckles and discipline with verbal abuse and physical battering, if a child gets his spellings wrong, forgets to do his homework or fails to give a copy book answer. But the canvas of the film is so sensitive, so vast, so meaningful, it includes any and every child in its ambit. So much so, Taare Zameen Par becomes the story of any and every child who is being robbed off his childhood by insensitive parents and teachers who believe their job is to create race-winning rats for the rat race rather than Einsteins, Edisons, Agatha Christies and Leonardo Da Vincis. 

Eight-year-old Ishaan (Darsheel) is a happy-go-lucky child with a fertile imagination that can see fish flying but fails to grasp the difference between B and D. When asked to solve his three times table, he confidently picks up his pencil and sees a war of planets on the firmament of his mind where planet 3 smashes into planet 6 and beats it into smithereens.


A young girl learns to believe in herself and value her intelligence in this critically-acclaimed, family-friendly drama. Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer) is an 11-year-old being raised by her mother, Tanya (Angela Bassett), who was left on her own after the death of her husband. While Akeelah is a very bright girl, she's hardly a star student and seems afraid of acting like a bookworm around her friends and classmates. However, Akeelah's teacher sees genuine potential in her student and encourages her to enter the school's spelling bee, convinced Akeelah has the brains and the talent to win. Akeelah applies herself and emerges victorious in the local competition, but discovers the going gets tougher when she goes to a statewide bee, studying for the regionals under the aegis of strict English teacher Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburne), who consents to act as her coach A college professor who was a spelling-bee champ as a child, Larabee is a stubborn taskmaster who questions Akeelah's ability and commitment, but in time he develops a respect for his pupil and helps her prove her talent as she climbs the ladder to the National Spelling Bee. 


Emily VanCamp, who plays teacher Stacey Bess in the film adaptation, is originally saddled with teaching children in a Salt Lake City homeless shelter. She finds the classroom to be not much more than a filthy shed with a few tattered books, one desk, several old mismatched chairs and a resident rat. Her determination to change those homeless children's life prove that a teacher can change the life of a children.
Can an individual really make a difference? The answer is a resounding "yes" in the Hallmark Hall of Fame film "Beyond the Blackboard'.

Ron Clark's Essential 55

Rule 1
When responding to any adult, you must answer by saying
“Yes ma’am” or “No sir.” Just nodding your head or saying
any other form of yes or no is not acceptable.

Rule 2
Make eye contact. When someone is speaking, keep your
eyes on him or her at all times. If someone makes a
comment, turn and face that person.

Rule 3
If someone in the class wins a game or does something well,
we will congratulate that person. Claps should be at least
three seconds in length with the full part of both hands
meeting in a manner that will give the appropriate clap

Rule 4
During discussions, respect other students’ comments,
opinions, and ideas. When possible, make statements like, “I
agree with John, and I also feel that…” or “I disagree with
Sarah. She made a good point I feel that…” or “I think Victor
made an excellent observation, and it made me realize…”

Rule 5
If you win or do well at something, do not brag. If you lose, do
not show anger. Instead, say something like, “I really enjoyed
the competition, and I look forward to playing you again,” or
“good game,” or don’t say anything at all. To show anger or
sarcasm, such as “I wasn’t playing hard anyway” or “You
really aren’t that good,” shows weakness. 

Rule 6
If you are asked a question in conversation, you should ask a
question in return.
Me: “Did you have a nice weekend?”
You: “Yes, I had a great time. My family and I went shopping.
What about you? Did you have a nice weekend?”
It is only polite to show others that you are just as interested in
them as they are in you.

Rule 7
“When you cough or sneeze or burp, it is appropriate to turn
your head away from others and cover your mouth with the
full part of your hand. Using a fist is not acceptable.
Afterward, you should say, “Excuse me.”

Rule 8
“Do not smack your lips, tsk, roll your eyes, or show
disrespect with gestures.”

Rule 9
“Always say thank you when I give you something. If you do
not say it within 3 seconds after receiving the item, I will take it
back. There is no excuse for not showing appreciation.”

Rule 10
“When you are given something from someone, never insult
that person by making negative comments about the gift or by
insinuating that it wasn’t appreciated”

Rule 11
“Surprise others by performing random acts of kindness. Go
our of your way to do something surprisingly kind and
generous for someone at least once a month.” Rule 12
“Occasionally we may grade each other’s papers as a group.
When grading other students’ papers, if you give someone an
incorrect grade, whether it is higher or lower than they
deserve, the amount the grade differs from the actual grade
will be deducted from your paper. The only marks you are
allowed to make on others’ papers are an “X” and the number
they got incorrect.”

Rule 13
“When we read together in class, you must follow along. If I
call on you to read, you must know exactly where we are and
begin to read immediately”

Rule 14
“Answer all questions with a complete sentence. For
example, if the question asks, “What is the capital of Russia?”
you should respond by writing, “The capital of Russia is
Moscow.” Also, in conversation with others, it is important to
use complete sentences out of respect for the person’s
question. For example, if a person asks, “How are you?”
instead of just responding by saying, “Fine,” you should say,
“I’m doing fine, thank you. How about yourself?”

Rule 15
“At times throughout the year, I will give rewards for good
behavior, academic performances and other acts worthy of
praise. If you ever ask me for a reward, however, it will not be
given. It is rude to ask if you are getting something for good
behavior. You should be good and try your best because you
are trying to better yourself, not because you are anticipating
a reward. I usually give some sort of reward to everyone who
scores 100 on unit tests. If you make 100 and ask if you are
getting something, no one who made 100 will be given

Rule 16
“Homework will be turned in each day for each subject by
every student with no exceptions.” Rule 17
“When we are in transition from one subject to the other, the
change will be swift, quiet and orderly. We should be
consistently able to turn from one book to another, complete
with all homework and necessary materials, as quickly as
possible. The opportune amount of time to spend in transition
should be less than ten seconds, and we will work toward a
goal of seven seconds.”

Rule 18
“You will make every effort to be as organized as possible.”

Rule 19
“When I assign homework, there is to be no moaning or
complaining. This will result in a doubled assignment.”

Rule 20
“While you are with a substitute teacher, you will obey the
same rules that you follow when I am with you. (I know this is
hard, but it is important.)”

Rule 21
“We will follow certain classroom protocols. We will be
organized, efficient, and on task. In order to do so, we will
follow these rules:
1. Do not get out of your seat without permission. Exception:
If you are sick, leave immediately.
2. Do not speak unless:
You raise your hand, and I call on you.
I ask you a question and you are responding.
It is a recess of lunch.
I instruct you otherwise (for example, during group work).”

Rule 22
“You may bring a bottle of water and leave it on your desk. Do
not ask me if you can get water while I am teaching a lesson.
You can even have food at your desk as long as others don’t see it and I don’t hear you eat it.”

Rule 23
"Quickly learn the name of other teachers in the
school and greet them by saying things like, "Good
morning Mrs. Graham," or "Good afternoon Ms. Ortiz.
That is a very pretty dress." (Note: If you are in
line with the rest of class, you are not allowed to
speak to the teachers at that time because the
no-talking rule is in effect. You should speak to
other teachers if you are entering or leaving the
school, on recess, on an errand, or changing classes.)

Rule 24
"Flush the toilet and wash your hands after using the rest
room. When in a public rest room, get a paper towel before
washing your hands. After washing your hands, use the paper
towel to turn off the faucets and to press the dispenser to get
another paper towel to dry your hands. (Or use the towel to
press the button to start the dryer.) The last thing you want to
do is touch areas with clean hands that others have touched
with dirty hands."

Rule 25
"We will often have visitors to our school. If someone is
coming to visit our class, I will send two students to the front
door of the building. You will have a sign welcoming the
person. When our visitor arrives, you will shake hands, tell
him or her who you are, and welcome the person to our
school. You will then take the visitor on a small tour of the
building before bringing him or her to the classroom."

Rule 26
“Do not save seats in the lunchroom. If someone wants to sit
down, let him or her. Do not try to exclude anyone. We are a
family, and we must treat one another with respect and

Rule 27
“If I or any other teacher in school is speaking to or
disciplining a student, do not look at that student. You
wouldn’t want others looking at you if you were in trouble or
being reprimanded, so don’t look at others in that situation. If
you are the student I am talking to, do not get angry or fuss at
students who are looking at you. Let me know and I will
handle the situation.”

Rule 28
"If you have a question about your homework, you may call
me. If I am not there to answer the phone, please leave a
message in the following manner: "Hi, Mr. Clark, this is
_______________. I need help with the _______________
homework. You can call me back until ___:00. Thank you."
There is no need to leave this message fourteen times."

Rule 29
“There are several manners dealing with food that you must
follow: I call these my ABC’s of Etiquette.

A. When you first sit down for a meal, immediately place you
napkin in your lap. If you silverware is wrapped in a napkin,
unwrap it as soon as you sit down and place the napkin in
your lap.

B. When you are finished eating, place your napkin on the table
to the left of your plate. Place it loosely beside the plate. Don’t
crumple it, because you don’t want to seem untidy. Don’t fold
it too neatly, because you don’t want the restaurant to think
you assume they are going to use it again. Never leave your
napkin on your chair. This implies that the napkin is too dirty
to be left on the table. Also, in some cultures, leaving the
napkin on the chair is known as a way to say that you don’t
intend to return to the restaurant again.

C. Never place you elbows on the table.

D. Use one hand to eat, unless you are cutting or buttering food.
Never have your fork in one hand and a glass in the other.

E. Do not lick your fingers. There is a napkin provided for the
purpose of cleaning your fingers. There is no need to lick
yourself clean.

F. Do not smack you lips or chew noisily.

G. Do not chew with your mouth open.

H. Do not talk with your mouth full. Sometimes people will place
a hand over their mouth and talk anyway. Don’t do that. Wait
until you have swallowed your food to speak.

I. If something is caught in your teeth, don’t go in after it; wait
until you are in the rest room to remove it.

J. D not slurp.

K. Do not play with your food.

L. If you drop your fork, napkin, or anything else on the floor, DO
NOT pick it up. It is very rude and unsanitary to place
something on the table that has been on the floor. If you pick
up something that has dropped and hand it to a waiter, then
you will need to excuse yourself and wash your hands before
continuing with your meal. The best way to handle a situation
when something has dropped on the floor is to ask a waiter for
a replacement; leave the old one on the floor.

M. You are to use your utensils for eating almost everything.

Here are ten types of food you may use your hands to eat:
1. Pizza

2. Bacon

3. Cookies

4. Bread (Always tear off a bite-sized piece to eat. If you
are going to use butter, never butter the whole piece of bread;
butter the piece you tore off, and eat that before tearing
another piece.)

5. Corn on the cob (It is appropriate to eat across instead
of eating around.)

6. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and sandwiches (including
breakfast biscuits)

7. French fries and chips

8. Fried chicken

9. Asparagus (yes, asparagus)

10. Small fruits (like grapes on a stem), apples, oranges,
carrots, etc.

N. Never reach over someone’s plate to get something. You
should say, “Will you please pass the salt?”

O. Never start eating off of your tray until you are at your seat.

P. When we are eating at a restaurant, you are not to begin
eating until everyone at the table has received food. Q. You should never complain if the line is too long, the food isn’t
good, or if there is a wait. You don’t want to be negative to the
point where you spoil the enjoyment of the event for others.

R. If you are unsure which silverware to use, simply start with the
fork, knife or spoon that is the farthest from your plate. On the
left, you will have your salad fork on the outside and your
dinner fork on the inside. On the far right, you will have your
soupspoon. Beside it you will have the spoon you will use to
stir your coffee or tea, then your salad knife, and then your
dinner knife. The utensils above your plate are to be used for

S. When you are finished eating, do not push your plate away
from you. Leave it where it is in the setting. If you want to
show you have finished eating, you should lay your fork and
knife together diagonally across the plate. You should place
the fork with the tines down, and you should have the sharp
side of the knife facing down. Of the two utensils, the fork
should be closest to you.

T. Never place a piece of silverware that you have used back on
the table. Leave it on a plate or saucer.

U. If you didn’t use a utensil, do not place it on a plate or saucer
when you are finished. Just leave it where it is.

V. Always look a waiter in the eyes when you are ordering,
asking a question, or saying thank you.

W. Make a point to remember the waiter’s name when he
introduces himself to you. Use his name as often as possible
throughout the course of the meal.

X. If you have to go to the rest room, you should stand up and
say, “Excuse me,” as you leave the table.

Y. When you are offered desserts or asked a question such as
“What sides would you like?” or “What dressing would you like
for your salad?” it is best to ask, “What are my options?” That
way, you aren’t going through a process of naming things the
restaurant might not have.

Z. Never talk to waiters or waitresses as if they are servants.
Treat them with respect and kindness, and remember, they
are the ones who are fixing food and bringing it to you. You do
not want to be on the bad side of a waiter.” Rule 30
“After we eat, we will clean up after ourselves. This includes
cleaning off the tables and making sure we haven’t left any
trash on the floor or around the eating area. It is important to
be responsible for your trash no matter where you are and to
be sure not to litter.”

Rule 31
"When we stay in a hotel room, it is appropriate to leave a tip
on the pillow for the hotel workers who are responsible for
cleaning the room after our stay. Two to three dollars per night
is an appropriate amount, depending on the cost of the room."

Rule 32
“When we ride on a bus, we will always sit facing forward. We
will never turn around to talk to other students, stick anything
out of the windows, or get out of our seats. When we exit the
bus, we will always thank the bus driver and tell him to have a
good day.”

Rule 33
"When we go on field trips, we will meet different people.
When I introduce you to people, make sure that you
remember their names. Then, when we are leaving, make
sure to shake their hands and thank them, mentioning their
names as you do so."

Rule 34
"Whenever you are offered food, whether it be on a buffet or
treats in class, never take more than your fair share. You
never want to be greedy and try to get more than you should,
not only because it is wasteful, but also because it is
disrespectful to others when you do not leave enough for

Rule 35
"Whether we are in school or on a field trip, if someone drops
something, pick it up and hand it back to them. Even if they
are closer to the object, it is only polite to make the gesture of bending down to retrieve the item."

Rule 36
“If you approach a door and someone is following you, hold
the door. If the door opens by pulling, pull it open, stand to the
side, and allow the other person to pass through it first, then
you can walk through. If the door opens by pushing, hold the
door open after you push through."

Rule 37
"If we are on a field trip, it is a good idea to compliment
something about the place where you are visiting. For
example, if we visit someone's home, it would be a nice
gesture to tell them that you think they have nice curtains.
People are always self-conscious when they have guests visit
their home, so you want to make them feel at ease. Also, if we
are visiting other places, such as a museum or theater, it
would be nice to comment on how beautiful the architecture is
or to tell the guide that you think the facility is very nice."

Rule 38
"During an assembly do not speak and do not look around
and try to get the attention of your friends in other classes. We
must uphold an image that shows we have our act together."

Rule 39
“If we are on a field trip, it is a good idea to compliment
something about the place where we are visiting. For
example, if we visit someone’s home, it would be a nice
gesture to tell them that you think they have nice curtains.
People are always self-conscious when they have guests visit
their home, so you want to make them feel at ease. Also, if we
are visiting other places, such as a museum or theater, it
would be nice to comment on how beautiful the architecture is
or to tell the guide that you think the facility is very nice.” Rule 40
“During an assembly, do not speak and DO NOT look around
and try to get the attention of your friends in other classes. We
must uphold an image that shows we have out act together!”

Rule 41
“When you answer the phone at your house, you must do so
in an appropriate manner.”

Rule 42
“When we return from a trip, you will shake my hand as well
as the hands of every chaperone. You will thank us for taking
the time to take you on the trip, and you will let us know that
you appreciate having the opportunity to go. I am not
concerned with being thanked; I am concerned with teaching
you that is it appropriate to show appreciation when someone
has gone out of his or her way to help you.

Rule 43
“When we are on field trips and we have to go up escalators,
we will stand to the right. That will give other individuals who
are in a hurry the option of walking up the left-hand side of the
escalator. When we are going to enter an elevator, the
subway, or a doorway, we will wait for others to exit before we

Rule 44
"When in a line; walk single file, two to three feet behind the
person in front of you with your arms at your sides. You
should face forward at all times. There will be absolutely no

Rule 45
“Never cut line. If someone cuts in front of you, do not say or
do anything about it. Let it happen, but let me know about it. I
will handle the situation. If you fuss with someone who has cut
in line, you could get in trouble as well. It’s not worth it; just let
me know what happened. Please handle all disputes with other classmates in the same manner, by coming to me with
any problems before you take matters into your own hands."

Rule 46
“When we go to a movie theater, there will be no talking."

Rule 47
"Do not bring Doritos in the school building."

Rule 48
"If any child in this school is bothering you, let me know. I am
your teacher, and I am here to look after you and protect you.
I am not going to let anyone in this school bully you or make
you feel uncomfortable. In return, I ask that you not take
matters into your own hands; let me deal with the student."

Rule 49
"Stand up for what you believe in. You shouldn't take no for an
answer if your heart and mind are leading you in a direction
that you feel strongly about."

Rule 50
"Be positive and enjoy life. Some things just aren't worth
getting upset over. Keep everything in perspective and focus
on the good in your life."

Rule 51
"Live so that you will never have regrets. If there is something
you want to do, do it! Never let fear, doubt, or other obstacles
stand in your way. If there is something you want, fight for it
with all of your heart. If there is something you want to do, go
for it and don's stop until you make it happen. If there is
something you want to be, do whatever is necessary in order
to live that dream."

Rule 52
“Accept that you are going to make mistakes. Learn from
them and move on.” Rule 53
“No matter what the circumstances, always be honest. Even if
you have done something wrong, it is best to admit it to me,
because I will respect that, and oftentimes I will forget any
disciplinary measures because of your honesty.”

Rule 54
“Carpe Diem. You only live today once, so don’t waste it. Life
is made up of special moments, many of which happen when
caution is thrown to the wind and people take action and seize
the day.”

Rule 55
“Be the best person you can be.”